April 14 marked the running of the Oliver "Wine Capital of B.C." 10K.
It was a few degrees above zero and overcast as the race director gave us a 10 second countdown and we took off from beside the Oliver Community Centre, running through the grass before hitting a narrow dirt road.
A fellow wearing a red shirt was in front of me, and I just stayed behind him for awhile as he was going at a good pace. A young woman came up and ran beside me as the path turned to asphalt, and then I got a burst of energy and ran ahead of her and past the guy in front, who yelled "Way to go!" as I went by. I said I'd see if I could keep my pace up, and he said he hoped that I could too.
We were running along the Okanagan River now, being hit by a crosswind. As we passed the 4K marker the leader, Hans Aabye, came racing by us already heading back. We reached the turnaround after 4 and a half Ks, so we still had a few hundred meters to go before we were halfway home. The second place woman was just ahead of me and the the guy in the red shirt was heading toward me and the turnaround, looking determined. Just before the 5K point another fellow passed me and said "Almost halfway there!"
The wind was buffetting us much more heavily now that we were going in the opposite direction, so I stuck behind the guy in front of me, but he was shorter than me so he didn't block a lot of it. The young woman who tried to pass me before ran by us, and he went with her, but I just kept going at the same pace. She was now the third place woman, and a guy pulled up on a bike and rode alongside her briefly. Then he rode back past me and came around again, saying to me "Keep it up! You're going strong, with 2 women in front of you!" I said "Yeah, fast women!" For the rest of the race he kept riding ahead and stopping in various places to cheer us on.
I managed to stay behind them, but at the 7K mark they started to pull away. A few hundred meters later Marie-Josee Bedard, top woman in the River's Spring Run-Off 10K, came up alongside me and said "Keep going, you're looking strong!" I told her she did too, and then she raced ahead, passing the woman in front of us. Next she took off after the second place female, who in turn sped up. It turned into quite a duel, but in the end it was Tiffany Fowler prevailing, as she held off Marie-Josee, beating her by 3 seconds!
The guy in the red shirt also caught up to me and went by, and soon afterward as I ran past the 9K marker I could already hear the announcer at the finish line. So close but yet so far, as we now had to run through the grass along the edge of the field and over to the other side of it. A woman came up and ran beside me as we hit the asphalt path on the other side, and the bike guy was waiting there and yelled at us "One minute to go!" I took off ahead of her, turning right after a couple of hundred meters and now running along the winding concrete path until I was across the finish line!.
The announcer called out my name, and a volunteer congratulated me on my finish and broke off my bib number tag and took it.
I walked over to the Community Centre and went inside the auditorium where they had food tables set up. They had apples, bananas, oranges, muffins, bagels with jam, cream cheese, Nutella and peanut butter to spread on them, and 3 types of delicious cookies.
I grabbed a coffee and a couple of cookies, and then went to my car to get my jacket and camera. From there I headed to the finish line, where I cheered some people in and took a few pictures.
After awhile I went back inside, waiting for the awards to be presented.
Overall and age group (except underaged) winners received a bottle of wine or other prize if they wanted them instead. They got the awards going, and most people took the wine.
I was hoping for one myself, but as it turned out I wasn't even close, finishing 5 of 8 in my age group, and 25 of 131 overall, with a time of 44:32.
After the awards were all done it was time to head out as I had a long drive back to Vancouver, leaving the lovely town of Oliver behind, but planning to be back again.
For some more detail here's Rick Jenkner's race report:
My next race was the Sooke River 10K, on April 21 at 11 AM.